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A Seat at a Table, Ep 1: The writerly thing to do

Over the past few years, I’ve had a few major influences when it comes to listening to interviews. They’ve been in mixed mediums, albeit not always alive to their full multimedia potential. The long narrative interviews have kept me as enthralled as TV shows, movies and books — every one of them obviously being focused on at least one of the above forms of content. 

When the opportunity and resources were presented to me, the first thing I did was jump at the chance to emulate the content I enjoy taking in myself. I’m lucky to live in a time when my contemporaries are also down to play, so now it was time to shoot the shit, pull up a chair, and take a few bites of an apple — at a table at which I was allowed to sit. 

My invitations to A Seat at a Table podcast guests were sent to people whose work I admire; people who inspire me to keep writing. 

The participants? Poet and author Maneo Mohale, author and photographer Rofhiwa Maneta, author and filmmaker Lesedi Molefi, freelance book editor Katlego Tapala, sales rep and bookstagrammer Lefa Nkadimeng. The props and ambience? Food, cigarettes and great conversation: the way you’d shoot the breeze at a dinner party. (Except this concept remains solely focused on being a lunch, obvs.) We went from writers saying “writerly” things, to discussing memoir and trauma; we chatted about emails and sign-offs, as well as what actually got everybody into literature in the first place. 

I hope it’s taken in and enjoyed in the spirit in which it was created, over what we enjoyed as stimulating and flowing conversation. 

The influences, you ask? The podcasts The Nine Club: Getting Skaters Talking, Between The Covers hosted by David Naimon, and lastly Jon Favreau’s early 2000s interlude show Dinner For Five

Pig out!

Phumlani Pikoli is this year’s K Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award winner for his debut novel Born Freeloaders (Pan MacMillan). The award was handed out at the South African Literary Awards.

This podcast was produced as part of a partnership between the Mail and Guardian and the Goethe-Institut, focusing on various aspects of innovation

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Phumlani Pikoli
Phumlani Pikoli is a multidisciplinary artist. He had his multi-sensory exhibition with the British Council in South Africa and Tmrw Mixed Reality Workshop, based on his acclaimed debut collection of short stories, The Fatuous State of Severity In January 2020. His debut novel Born Freeloaders was released in 2019 and published by Pan Macmillan.

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